When I was given the 'escape' brief, I knew that I am going to escape to the woods. I find nature to be the closest definition of escape, as I find it very calming.
I've headed to the woods without leaving the city. I slept on this platform for 2 nights. During that time, I've highjacked electricity from the studios, to power up my platform.
I hitchhiked to see how far I could get, just to realize: ‘I don’t need to runaway to be able to escape’
I found a way to escape the city within the city. I took an advantage of the untouched area in the back of our studios, as an opportunity to build my suitable environment.
I crafted a platform were I would reside. I have only used recycled wood. Nothing had been paid for except for 4 nails and a hammer.
observation & reflection
During the year I witness quite a few people visiting the place. I realized that it is not only my escape. My observation made me see that they are not doing anything in specific there. I came to a conclusion that it is not about what is done there but it is about why we go there. The product of the platform was the very act of visiting the site.
Bill McKibben points out that, “In our modern minds, nature and human society are separate things”. I believe our design practices are influenced by this mentality. Our creations make us feel isolated so we create to insulate ourselves even more skilfully. Modern cities are fully artificial. Even the parks are man made and there is almost no sign of natural nature. Due to which we began to develop stress and anxiety that arises from Solastalgia. Glenn Albrecht, who coined the term, defines it as a form of homesickness one gets while still at home.
Charles Eisenstein believes, “We conceptually separate ourselves from the environment in order to manipulate it; equally, our successful manipulation of the environment spurs our conceptual separation from it. The more we dominate, own, and control, the more separate we experience ourselves. The more separate we experience ourselves, the greater the urge to dominate, to own, to control”.
I felt that the space is providing the missing physical contact. I realized through eliminating physical separation we could start minimizing the psychological one. I recognized that the space is an untouched area that has not been manipulated. I did not construct the platform any further as I noticed architecture tends to create separation from nature. My shelter became a balcony. Not having to see man-made things is like the sound of silence for the eyes. With no external input the mind journeys into a state of bliss.
At the moment I am trying to open this gate. This door leads to New Cross Gate Natural Reserve.
The land is owned by the railway and the rules surrounding the railways properties are very strict. Working together with Goldsmiths, we are hope to provide limited accessibility for the students to enjoy the scenery. This will hopefully reduce stress and anxiety while increasing their productivity and creativity.